Meghan McCain — daughter of John, and aka the "McCain Blogette" — sat for an interview with GQ and basically confirmed ETP's first impression of her, which was basically summed up in this email to a friend on the campaign trail back in February: "She looks fun, if a little crazy, like your crazy friend who somehow gets you both in a motel room at 4 am with two guys you met at a honky-tonk bar." My friend emailed back: "That is TOTALLY what Meghan is like."
It sounds like New Republic deputy online editor Greg Veis found that out, too, though presumably not in a motel room at 4 a.m. (though, giving how well the interview started out, we're not ruling it out - Megs hugged Veis on sight, saying "I've never had anybody fly across the country for me who I wasn't dating - I'm so flattered!").
That aside, here are the two most important takeaways from this article:
(1) Veis interviewed McCain over a month ago — before, says Vies, the NYT published its infamous piece on McCain and his reputed-but-never-verified interpersonal association with Vicki Iseman. So, sometime before Feb. 21st. Which, in this campaign, seems like AGES ago. Yet, reading through this piece to find nuggets to pull, I realized that there was a TON in here. It is filled with useful information — not only about Megs but about McCain via Megs. That's interesting in a world where the fast-paced 24-hour campaign news cycle is completely inconsistent with the comparatively leisurely pace of a monthly. That's not to say that magazine features don't add to the storyline — they do — but this one in particular felt like it was just packed with nuggets. Which leads me to my second big takeaway:
(2) Wow, is Meghan McCain a TERRIFIC asset to her father. Not only does she soften him with her kooky you-go-girl persona, but she is a great mouthpiece, proclaiming him dead serious about global warming, and how ("My dad was tortured in prison; he doesn't overreact to things. So if he starts freaking out, you know it's time to freak out — And I think he's freaking out about the environment") and matter-of-factly supporting the war (on her blog, she mentions her brother, serving overseas, as well, which McCain does not often do). Also, looking forward to the general, she's extremely appealing to liberals: Doesn't like Rush Limbaugh or "Hannity & Colmes." Voted for Kerry in '04. Defines herself as "socially liberal, economically conservative." She's also amazing at humanizing her parents on the campaign trail, catching them both in natural, unguarded moments and making them seem more accessible and natural, even though they are flying on a private plane on the campaign to be President. (This is a subtle but effective strategy with Cindy McCain, future potential First Lady, seen as impeccably groomed but remote — her post about "10 Things You Don't Know About My Mom" included "She's a huge Cream fan and went to their reunion concert in London two years ago" and "She can tell if a beer is fresh or not, depending on the taste"). As the general election approaches, count on profiles of Cindy McCain to start coming — and count on Meghan's blog to thoroughly mined for "real" stories about her mom.Megs (she seems like a Megs) is also a great role model as First Daughter, having recently written a post shrugging off criticism about her looks and weight and writing the following after someone approached her at an event with a business card offering liposuction (seriously) :
I am proud of my curves and have always loved my fuller figure, as should every woman who is not a size "0". I want to be a positive role model for my little sister and all of the other young women who read my blog and help perpetuate a more positive image for women, regardless of their body size. I feel empowered to tell everyone that it's important to maintain a healthy weight that works for them - not everyone is going to be model thin, nor should they expect to be. To every young girl reading this blog, it is inner beauty and happiness that makes a person beautiful, not a number on a scale.
The post got an outpouring of supportive emails, many of which she posted. Then she went back to being super-fun.
Vies' piece reminded me how much I like her blog, and going back there I was reminded of what a powerful PR tool it was for the McCain campaign, mocked though it was at the outset (and featuring as it does a silhouette of a female blogger in red-hot heels). Though there's some confusion about how her blog is funded — the campaign couldn't tell the AP who pays for the travel and accommodation for Megan and her two friends — that's unlikely to rise to the level of scandal. The point is, John McCain has one helluva secret weapon in her. Democrats should take note.
****A few tidbits from the article:
- Megs is a huge fan of Dita Von Teese ex of Marilyn Manson, fashion icon, and burlesque star. Says Megs, "I know she's a fetish star, but I think that's rock 'n' roll.
- Megs went to Columbia and interned at Newsweek and Saturday Night Live.
- Megs, like the ladies of "The View," thinks Obama is sexy.
- In February, Megs was pooh-poohing the idea of Mike Huckabee — still in the race then — as a running mate: "That's not going to happen...I don't think they'd be a good match for a lot of reasons and am not even sure if that's what Huckabee's going for, anyway. I think he wants to be the head of the evangelical movement."
- Megs thinks Mitt Romney failed to "keep it real."
- Megs likes "bad boys, for the most part" but is not averse to dating normal "D.C.-looking guys" like her interviewer, seen here, fourth from left). The exception is investment bankers: "Ugh! If you're an investment banker, don't hit on me. You can quote me. I'm not interested."
- Megs says she is like her father : "I'm almost incapable of bullshit. He's the same way." She also likes to swear. (Hey, so does he!)
- Note that Megs isn't the only McCain relative with a wild streak — she gets it from her 96-year-old grandma ,too: "Nana drives fast," Meghan says. "She got pulled over for doing 112 in Flagstaff about a year ago."
*Our favorite is #2